Complete and Serve a California 20 Day Preliminary Notice
Within 20 days from when you first furnish materials and/or labor to a construction project, serve a Preliminary 20 Day Notice (CPN) to the Owner, the Prime Contractor, and the Construction Lender. If you do not do this, you will not have Mechanic's Lien rights in the event you do not get paid in a timely manner. Only one CPN is required unless you furnish the goods and services under a separate contract or with more than one contractor. You can obtain copies of the California CPN form online or from any construction bookstore. There are also services who will fill out and file the CPN form for you. When you fill out the form, be careful to include all of the required information and serve all the parties properly. You may also want to file a copy of the CPN with the County Recorder so you will be notified if the Owner records a Notice of Cessation of a Notice of Completion.
Record a Mechanic's Lien
If you have timely and properly served the California Preliminary Notice (CPN), you are entitled to a Mechanic's on the property you furnished goods and/or services to. A Mechanic's Lien is a lien on the real estate securing payment for those goods and/or services. Whether your contract was with the Owner of the real estate, or with an agent of the Owner (i.e. a general contractor, architect, property manager, etc.), you will have a right to a Mechanic's Lien. If you do not get paid within the time specified in your contract, or in a timely manner, you may record a Mechanic's Lien in the County Recorder's Office in the County where the real estate is located. The lien will then become an encumbrance on the title to the real estate described on the lien form, and may only be released once you are paid. You can obtain a copy of the California Mechanic's Lien form online or from any construction bookstore.
Foreclose on the Mechanic's Lien
If you do not get paid after recording the Mechanic's Lien, you must file a lawsuit to "perfect" the lien - which is a legal action to foreclose on the property you furnished goods and/or services to. Various rules apply to when the lawsuit must be filed, depending on whether you are a prime contractor, a subcontractor, or a supplier, and whether a Notice of Cessation or a Notice of Completion is filed. You should contact a qualified construction attorney to consult on the timelines and file the lawsuit on your behalf. Don't let your lien rights expire. Contact the Law Office of David Pickard to use the ever important Mechanic's Lien as a tool to get paid for your goods and services.